Ruby salt bush is a common species of semi-arid and arid climates. It is a small, sometimes straggly shrub to about 1 metres high with greyish foliage and stems which are covered with short hairs. The linear leaves are rounded in cross section (terete), succulent and 6 to 15 mm long. The white flowers are small and insignificant but, after flowering the perianth enlarges to enclose the fruit in a small, berry-like structure about 5-8 mm in diameter. These berries are coloured from yellow to red and are edible….but a considerable number would be needed for a meal!
Enchylaena tomentosa is not widely cultivated but would be a useful plant for gardens in dry climates. It has also been grown successfully in temperate climates but may not be suitable for areas of high humidity. The plant should be grown in well drained soils in full sun. It is tolerant of at least moderate frost and will also grow in moderately saline soils.
Propagation is reasonably easy from both seed and cuttings.
Photo: Eric Anderson